Spectacular view of the mountains around Mussoorie in the morning.
Some of my oldest memories go back to travel and trips and they are the ones I cherish with all of my heart. Travel has always evoked happiness in my life, whether the travel was short day trips or picnics or longer and more adventurous trips. Some are of places that I traveled to just once, but have stayed with me, others are of well-loved places that are re-visited often.
In our list feature this month, Lakshmi at Celebrations of Life, Kanchan at Elan and I decided to feature the 5 places that we love, that we cherish, the 5 places that are entwined in our travel memories.
1) Kulu Valley: We used to live part of the year here or rather spend the season there in the summer when we were kids. I clearly remember how pristine and beautiful the landscape was, how few people there were, how there was just one Punjab Roadways bus that used to drive by each day, how there were so few tourists, no litter, barely any graffiti and most of all, the feeling that everyday was an adventure. We used to go for picnics regularly, to Fagu, to Koti, to Tillasharni, to a forest across the river, which we crossed on a little rickety wooden bridge, with the Beas roaring below us.
Looking down from our room towards Camel's Back Road in Mussoorie.
2) Mussoorie: A short trip last year in September, which was a wonderful time to be there, after the main monsoon was over and before the puja holidays started. The town was quiet and calm, which is what we wanted. We walked everywhere, a new route everyday, taking in the fresh mountain air, the stillness, the perfection and the feeling of wonderment at nature's bounty.
3) Dagshai: This quiet little cantonment town in Himachal is always overlooked by tourists, and rightly so, there is nothing to do here. And that's exactly why I love it so much. We spent several weekend trips from boarding school here and had a wonderful routine of walking around the town. As with most old cantonment towns, there are two roads that circle the hilltop, one going over the top and one circling lower down, so one always had a choice on what type of walk one wanted. Being able to see the lights of Chandigarh so clearly from the front bedroom was a beautiful sight.
Traditional planters chair outside our room at the Birds Lagoon Village Resort, near the Thattekadu Bird Sanctuary.
4) Kerala: A family vacation, with 11 of us plus driver and attendant, driving from Bangalore to Kochi via Wayanad and Thrissur. From there to the Thattekadu Bird Sanctuary, then Thekkady and finally to the houseboats at Kumarakom. A hectic trip, but a fantastic one. We stayed at small resorts and one home stay, which we all preferred to hotels, since the atmosphere is much nicer and more appropriate for family travel. We wanted to spend time together, rather than just meeting up for meals in the restaurant.
Outside Old Courtyard Hotel in Fort Kochi, where we ate a sumptuous lunch on Boxing Day.
Gathering for morning tea at all the places was one of my favorite memories from the trip, and they all happened impromptu, with all of us exploring the resorts, walking around and ultimately heading for tea at a common area.
St Michael's Manor bed and breakfast in Scotland, Maryland. I took this shot from the hammock where I lazed in the afternoon :-)
5) Maryland to Maine: Another family trip in the summer of 2006, when we decided to drive from the DC area up along the east coast, exploring the area, visiting old family, friends and old haunts. We drove from DC to Long Island, from where we visited NYC on the Jitney, took the ferry across Long Island Sound to Connecticut, stayed in Providence, RI for a while, visiting our old haunts in Bristol and Newport. We then drove further north to Boston, exploring nearby states of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. On our way back south, we stopped in New Jersey and then headed to a little town called Scotland, in rural Maryland, where we stayed at a charming bed and breakfast called St Michael's Manor. All in all a great trip, with lots of fun, great food and fantastic memories.